Circuit of Ireland Marshals Win Trip to Barbados!

May 3, 2014 by Leo Nulty  

Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally marshals Jason Jackson and Steve Reeves will be jetting off to Sol Rally Barbados later this month after well-known competitor Frank Kelly and ‘Circuit’ Manpower Manager Raymond Linton pulled their names from the ‘hat’ outside Belfast’s Titanic building on Thursday morning!

Everyone who gave up their spare time to marshal in Northern Ireland’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship last month were automatically entered into a draw to win tickets to May’s Sol Rally Barbados, courtesy of the Barbados Rally Club and the island’s Tourism Development Corporation.

The prize includes return flights from London Gatwick on Virgin Atlantic Airways, accommodation and shared car hire for the two lucky winners, who are set to pack their bags for a two-week trip to the Caribbean in less than three weeks’ time.

Prizewinner Jason Jackson, a 28-year-old mechanic from Newtownards, marshalled on the Loughries stage as well as the Ards Town Centre stage during the Easter event. As a first-time rally marshal, he was almost speechless when he discovered that he was one of the lucky winners…

“I thought it was a wind up!” Jackson laughed. “It was my first time marshalling and I only signed up at the last minute. I really wanted to do it because the stages were right on the doorstep of my work and home. I knew there was a prize to Barbados up for grabs but I never expected to win. I was in America when I was a kid but other than that, the furthest I’ve travelled is to Spain, Ibiza and Portugal!”

The second prizewinner, Steve Reeves, who marshalled on both runs of the Buck’s Head stage, is retired and lives close to Ballynahinch. Understandably he was equally enthusiastic about the good news!

“I’m stunned!” Reeves said after discovering his good fortune. “It’s going to take a while to sink in. The last time I marshalled was in the Mark II Escort days, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I still have a keen motorsport interest so when I found out that the event needed marshals through Volunteer Now, I was happy to sign up.”

“Then I logged on to the Circuit website and saw the information about the Sol Rally Barbados prize so I registered on the website as well,” he added. “I’m completely surprised. It’s a dream.”

Both prizewinners are set to jet off to Barbados in less than three week’s time where they will experience the trip of a lifetime. Sun, sea, sand and motorsport combined with the infectious enthusiasm of the local Bajans will make for an unforgettable experience.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic prize,” said Circuit of Ireland Manpower Manager Raymond Linton. “Thanks must go to the Barbados Rally Club and the Tourism Development Corporation for making this possible.”

Assistant Clerk of Course Des O’Loan added: “This superb prize really helped the Circuit of Ireland to recruit volunteers. It’s great to see marshals being rewarded for giving up their spare time and I hope the relationship between the Circuit of Ireland and Sol Rally Barbados can continue to flourish for many years.”

A number of British and Irish competitors are also set to contest the event, including Carnlough’s Joe McQuillan, Scotland’s Allan Mackay and Moy’s Frank Kelly. Their rally cars will leave Portsmouth on the English south coast next Tuesday for the 10-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Geest Line freighter Agulhas Steam, while Kelly’s car has already arrived.

“It’s an event that I’ve wanted to do for years,” said Mark II Escort driver Frank Kelly. “I remember the original RPM footage when Kenny McKinstry first went over more than 20 years ago, and I’ve read a lot about it in Pacenotes magazine. So it’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do. This year I accidentally ended up with two cars so it provided the perfect opportunity.”

He added: “I’m expecting a lot of heat, very slippery tarmac with a real carnival atmosphere. I’m not going out to get a result – I just want to enjoy myself and have fun!”

The motorsport action in Barbados kicks off with Simpson Motors Scrutineering and the Scotiabank King of the Hill on 24/25 May, while Sol Rally Barbados runs from 30 May – 1 June.

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